Saturday, October 22, 2011

KAL 07: Joining it all up.

Yes. FINALLY. Really sorry.

Having read my blathering post, I've come back to the top and am putting in a checklist of steps, so that -hopefully- between the short list and my blather, it will make sense. If it doesn't, you may pelt me with acrylic yarn. Or ask questions. Whichever seems most appropriate.
-Figure 8% of your 100% figure. For me, it is 18 stitches. (222 x 8% = 18) These are your armpit stitches.
-Knit across the body to where you're putting the first sleeve. Put armpit stitches on stitch holders, both on the body and the sleeve. (I suggest using an even number of stitches for the body, and one more for the sleeve, to make grafting easier later; mine was 18 stitches body, 19 stitches sleeve.)
-Put the two arm pits together so they meet, like they will when the sweater is finished.
-Put some kind of stitch marker on the body needle. Knit the sleeve stitches onto the body needle. Put another stitch marker. Knit across the back of sweater.
-Repeat for the other sleeve, when you knit across to it. Don't forget the stitch markers.

Confused? I hope to hell not. Details, blather, and photos of the process below.

So. The whole point of doing a sweater is, you know, having a sweater. It needs sleeves. The sleeves need to be opposite each other, on the body. Can't stress that enough. And if there's a cardigan opening, it needs to be equidistant, between the sleeves. Sure, you're laughing, going "no kidding", but there have been sweaters produced with arms in the wrong place. More than once. And I'm not the only one who has done it.

Now, if you'd marked the sides of your sweater as you knit the body, with stitch markers or loops of string, you know where the arm pits go. If not, you might wanna do that, now. Get your 100% figure, divide it in half. That gives you the number of stitches on front and back. (My 100% figure is 222, so that's 111 each, front and back.)

Remember, steek stitches (for cut cardigans) do not go in the 100% figure. And the steek? It goes in the middle of the front. Between the arms. Just sayin'.

You will put armpit stitches on holders (I suggest actual stitch holders, rather than putting them on a string, because the string allows too much stretch and distortion). Then you will put all the other stitches on a single circular needle: Front of sweater, outside of sleeve, back, outside of other sleeve, then the front again. (Giving a quick overview before digging into details.)

Why don't I shut up now and put up some pictures? There's an idea.

Sleeve with armpit stitches on stitch holders.
Yeah, yeah, I know there's technical terms for this stuff, but y'all know what an armpit is, don't you? If you can't tell, there, the yarn end for the sleeve is right in the middle of the stitches on the holders. It will make grafting a little difficult later, but if you're going to have a bunch of darning and irregular rows meeting, you want it buried in your arm pit, not out on your shoulder for God and everyone to see.

Body, with stitches on stitch holders.
I use the body yarn to knit the sleeve into the needle with; the end of the sleeve yarn is in the armpit.

Getting ready to knit the sleeve into the body needle.
The sleeve is on the left, the body is on the right. Both sets of armpit stitches are together in the middle. The sleeve needle is silver, the body needle is blue. With this manouver, all the stitches will wind up on holders (armpit) or the body needle (body and sleeve).

With the sleeve and body on the body needle.
Reading the stitches left to right, from where my hand is holding the tips of the needles, there are sleeve stitches, then after the stitch marker on the right side, center of the screen, are the front body stitches. (The last stitch marker, upper right corner marks the steek, central front, because I'm making a cardigan.)

From there, I knit across the back and repeated the entire process on the other sleeve.

The advantage of doing it this way, rather than simply shoving stitches on and off needles and shuffling them around that way (which you are welcome to do instead) is, it reduces the odds of dropped stitches. It also makes it possible to knit one of these sweaters with just two circular needles, one for sleeves and one for body. Knit on the first sleeve, knit to where the second sleeve belongs, use your newly empty sleeve needle to make the second sleeve, knit it on, and you're ready to go.


With the sleeves and body put together, you need to knit an inch or two plain. This dictates the depth of the arm holes in your finished product. That is largely a matter of personal taste. I would do at least one inch, possibly two or three, depending. Things to consider:
-Smaller people need less arm room than larger people. (Kid sweater? One inch is fine. Medium adult sweater? Probably two. Really large adult sweater? Consider three.)
-Jackets and cardigans and pullovers intended to be worn over other clothes are a great deal more comfortable with larger arm holes.

For reference, and if anyone's curious, I'm doing probably two and a half inches on mine. It's a cardigan and I like my clothes on the loose side, usually.


After this will be shoulder decreasing and possible neck decreasing. Now's the time to decide if you want a crew neck or a V-neck.


Carol said...

I'm so happy that you are feeling better. Too bad about the meds. I hope that they get you on a good program that you can live with and you can do the things you love to do.
Last month I read your Knitty article about EPS. So I attached my sleeves. I only knit 1.5 inches. I am hoping it is enough. I do want to wear light weight blouses under my pullover. I am short waisted and in all my store bought clothing the armholes are too large. When I grab the shoulder seam and pull it up about an inch, then the store bought blouse, shirt or dress fit. Otherwise I have this pucker between my breast and armpit as if the clothing needs a dart.
What do you think? Was I right to only knit 1.5 inches?
I began knitting the "V" neck so I am knitting back and forth on a large circular. It is going very well. I am doing the raglan decreases according to your Knitty article. I did get more clarification from this post you did today. But I think I did everything you outlined to do.
I will be interested to read about how to finish a V neck. I'm not sure if I want to do ribbing or do a picot edge to match my body's hem edge. Or maybe a very small cute crochet edge?
Thank you so much. I can't wait to be whipping out EPS sweaters for my kids.

Anonymous said...

i am lost. after reading and rereading (a bazillion times), i'm thinking i put the 18/19 stitches on holders (body/sleeve), and ignore them while i knit around the rest of the sleeve onto the body. so there will be a gap in the armpits? to be done later? and the end product will be a body which got way wider to incorporate the sleeves? which means the yarn end of the body needs to be to the left of the holders? HELP!!!!